Hockey holds the power to change lives. With this very special feature article, we look at an example of human kindness, dedication, empathy, and altruism which has changed four lives forever. This story comes from Nepal and at its center lies a young boy called Raju and three others whose lives have been revolutionized by their love for hockey.
Ten years ago, a small child was rescued while living on the streets and was taken to a child care home by an NGO Volunteer. The small boy who was 8 years old at the time was not alone and met others at Mamaghar Nepal who had similar stories, some were abandoned by their parents, some had run away from abusive homes.
The word Mamaghar, has a special significance in Nepalese Society. Its word translated is Maternal Uncle’s Home. Nepalese children have a fondness for visiting their Mamaghar and everyone recalls with fond memories. There is a saying that goes around in the society “Aama Pachi Mama”, roughly translated as maternal Uncle/mama is there for you after your mother. An appropriate name for an organization that has rescued many children like Raju and is working continuously to providing them with all the basic needs that every child deserves.
Mamaghar Nepal is a non-profit non-governmental social organization. It is working for the welfare of street children. Basically, Mamaghar is working on emergency rescue, counseling, treatment, residential services, formal education, creational activities, and family rehabilitation of street children.
Raju was Found living on the streets 10 years ago by an NGO volunteer. At the time Raju did not know where he came from, who are his parents or how old was he. He had been living on the streets since he could remember and at such an early age had taken up the habit of glue sniffing. What he recalls is he was on the streets of Hetauda when a volunteer came by and asked him if he was hungry and wanted to buy some food for him. After talking to the volunteer and telling his story, he was taken to the child rescue center. There he was provided with a place to stay, food, and education. Having no prior formal education, going to school was not easy for him. He has to start from elementary school from the basics. He was much older than his classmates and did not enjoy and wasn’t keen on studying. Upon completing a few years of grade school he gave up on formal schooling and has taken vocational training for electrician and plumbing.
He has been staying with Mamaghar Nepal for 10 years now. Mamaghar Nepal Volunteer urged children to pick an activity and would enroll them in classes. Some children took to dancing, some to football but Raju had his heart set elsewhere. He had seen some older children going for hockey practice, that’s when he fell in love with the sport. He went along with them and with the help of Manoj Sharma, (Executive committee Member, Nepal Hockey Association), he made tremendous improvement. His efforts were rewarded when he was named a member of the Bagmati Province Hockey Team. He has not only represented his team but also leads them as Captain in some tournaments.
Supported by the AHF, Mr. Manoj Sharma, Executive Member of Nepal Hockey Association, was looking to rebuild Bagmati Province’s regional hockey team and was scouting for players. Upon someone’s recommendation, he got in touch with Mamghar Nepal around 6 years back (around 2013/14) and some boys showed interest in learning a new sport. Mr. Sharma has been training boys from Mamaghar Nepal ever since and has come across many who are keen on playing hockey. He feels proud that he gets to train players like Raju, Sushant, Sameer and Santlal who show great interest in the sport and willingness to improve. He has been providing specialized training and hockey kits to the boys on a regular basis and also would like to see them participate in international tournaments representing the nation.
Raju has represented his regional team in some prestigious national tournaments as well as some international club tournaments in India.
Raju is a representative story, other boys from Mamaghar have similar stories to tell.
Sushant Thing came to Mamghar Nepal 9 years ago when he was seven year old. He too was rescued from the streets of Hetauda. Now, seventeen-year-old Sushant is currently studying in Grade 9 and has represented the school Hockey team at the Asian school games Federation held at Indore, India.
Pema Rumba (Sameer) Lama – was rescued and brought to Mamaghar when he was eleven years old. 19-year-old Sameer, has been living at Mamaghar for 7 years now and is currently studying in Grade 11.
Aayush Nuasur (Santlal) -was rescued from the streets and brought to Mamaghar when he was 13 years old. He is currently 20 years old and finished schooling up to Grade 7.
The Asian Hockey Federation has been closely monitoring the progress of Raju and his friends in this Development Initiative and we are pleased to see the amazing progress the children have made thus far. Due to these positive results, the AHF wants to extend this initiative to other parts of Asia as well. The encouragement and counseling gives the boys a boost of encouragement they needed to pursue playing hockey. They are living proof that every child with some encouragement is capable of doing great things.
“We are very pleased to see the progress Raju and his friends have made in such a short time. This story should inspire other young children to rise up and face the challenges of life. We are constantly striving for the betterment of society in Asia, helping little children like Raju is one of our prime objectives and other similar initiatives are ongoing in different parts of Asia. I am very glad to see them doing well and competing at the club level, and hope that they only rise to greater heights in their hockey career.”, says Asian Hockey Federation Chief Executive, Dato Tayyab Ikram.
“Today I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the help I received from Mamaghar Nepal. I ask everyone to take a positive look into street children; given opportunities, they too can achieve greater things. I am thankful for the opportunity that I received and am able to represent my team at various national and international tournaments.” – Raju Adhikai.